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Designing and Implementing Large Scale Experiments in Land Use
Perturbations in climate, technology, and the variation in subsidy systems brought about by CAP and WTO reform, have the potential to cause landscape-scale changes in farming systems. In particular the total area and spatial distribution of land in different food and non-food crops, or assigned to different land management schemes, may change markedly. A key issue that emerges from this is to define the most appropriate way to distribute these different land use categories to achieve biodiversity, environmental, production and socio-economic benefits. To address this issue requires large scale, experimental approaches.
This scoping study will consider what is the most appropriate protocol of such experimental studies. It will consider the design, treatments, benefits, limitations and constraints on large-scale experiments that manipulate the spatial distribution of land use. It will compare and contrast the manipulative experiment approach with information that can be obtained from observational studies of non-experimental existing changes in land use and from modelling approaches. The end product will be a set of guidelines defining appropriate protocols for the analysis of the effects of changes in the spatial distribution of alternative land uses on environmental and socio-economic factors.